Principles regarding prior sanction to institute legal proceedings in relation to S. 6 of Punjab Disturbed Areas Act, 1983 summarised

Supreme Court: In a case where the question that came before the bench of V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra, JJ for consideration was that whether in view of the provisions contained in section 6 of Punjab Disturbed Areas Act, 1983 (as amended in 1989), the prosecution or other legal proceedings relating to Police officers can be instituted without prior sanction of the Central Government, the Court stating that protection of sanction is an assurance to an honest and sincere officer to perform his duty honestly and to the best of his ability to further public duty, summarised the principles regarding prior sanction.

Stating that even when public servant has exceeded in his duty, if there is reasonable connection it will not deprive him of protection under Section 197 CrPC. However, there cannot be a universal rule to determine whether there is reasonable nexus between the act done and official duty nor it is possible to lay down such rule.

It was further held that in case the assault made is intrinsically connected with or related to performance of official duties sanction would be necessary under Section 197 CrPC, but such relation to duty should not be pretended or fanciful claim. The offence must be directly and reasonably connected with official duty to require sanction. Stating that The court is not to be a sanctioning authority, the Court said that if sanction is necessary in a case, it has to be decided by competent authority and sanction has to be issued on the basis of sound objective assessment. [Devinder Singh v. State of Punjab, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 357, decided on 25.04.2016]

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